Special Report: Agtech play Roots Sustainable has been quick to capitalise on a new government subsidy, announcing the first local sale of its innovative Roots Zone Temperature Optimization (RZTO) system.

The $30,000 order comes just a month after the Israeli Government approved a subsidy of up to 30 percent for local basil growers, following a successful pilot.

Roots’ (ASX:ROO) RZTO system is able to heat or cool crop roots as needed in one system, mitigating against temperature fluctuations, which is critical in regions where daily and seasonal temperatures can vary significantly.

Although basil is traditionally a summer crop, the pilot took place during the Israeli winter.

Roots’ technology was used to heat the crop roots up to five-degrees warmer, resulting in a 66 percent increase in yield and 35 percent increase in average plant size.

Roots CEO and co-founder Dr Sharon Devir says the technology offers a simple, effective way for farmers to expand production, save on energy costs and ultimately, increase profitability.

“As basil requires high temperatures for normal development, the cost of heating the volume of greenhouses makes it prohibitive to grow in winter in many parts of the world.

“RZTO heats the crop roots, rather than the air, providing increased plant protection against cold for substantial less initial investment in heating system and energy costs throughout the growing cycle.”

More farmers expected to grow with Roots

The subsidy was granted under the Precision Ag Program, a collaboration between the Israel Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Finance, which is investing $17.6 million in innovative agtech and machinery through until the end of next year.

Dr Devir says he expects this first order will be the first of many as more Israeli basil growers take advantage of the government support.

Roots’ self-embedding machine being used to install RZTO pipes.

“Our first RZTO order by a basil grower highlights the importance of commercial pilots in the ag-tech sector, enabling farmers to test new technology on different crops, environments and growing conditions before purchasing.

“The Israeli Government subsidy has reduced the initial outlay required as well as provided independent verification of the multiple benefits of our RZTO technology.”

This order was a first on several fronts. It is also the first time Roots is using a self-embedding machine to install its RZTO system.

The modular device can easily be mounted to any two-wheel tractor and significantly reduces installation times.



Roots Sustainable is a Stockhead advertiser.

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